India’s spiritual potential

     Sri Aurobindo says:  “India ought to be the spiritual leader of the world, inside she has the capacity, but outside, for the moment there is still much to do for her to become actually the spiritual leader of the world.

  “What is the meaning of “outside”; it means India as she expresses herself in outer appearance of society, culture and politics.”

  The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry says:  “From a spiritual point of view, India is the foremost country in the world. Its mission is to give the example of spirituality. Sri Aurobindo came on earth to teach this to the world. This fact is so obvious, that even a simple ignorant farmer here is in his heart closer to the Divine than all the intellectuals of Europe.” Sri Aurobindo says:   “We are sometimes asked what on earth we mean by application of spirituality in political and social life. How the practical problems either of society or of politics are going at all to profit by this element. We have here really an echo of the European idea, now of sufficiently long standing, that religion and spirituality on the one side and intellectual activity and practical life on the other are two entirely different things and have each to be pursued on its own entirely separate lines and in obedience to its own entirely separate principles.” Sri Aurobindo says:  “Again, we may be met also by the suspicion that in holding up this ideal rule before India we are pointing her to the metaphysical and away from the dynamic and pragmatic or inculcating some obscurantist reactionary principle of mystical or irrational religiosity and diverting her from the paths of reason and modernity which she must follow if she is to be an efficient and a well organized nation to survive in the shocks of the modern world.”

  Regarding age-old confusion between religion and spirituality, Sri Aurobindo says:  “Here spirituality does not mean the molding of the whole Hype of the national being to suit the limited dogmas, forms, tenets, of a particular religion, as was often attempted by the old societies, an idea which still persists in many minds by the power of old mental habit and association; clearly, such an attempt would be impossible, even if it were desirable, in a country full of the most diverse religious opinions and harboring too three such distinct general forms as Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, to say nothing of the numerous special forms to which each of these has given birth.” He further says: “Spirituality is much wider than any particular religion, and in the larger ideas of it that are now coming on us even the greatest religion becomes no more than a broad sect or branch of the one universal religion; by which we shall understand in the future man’s seeking for the eternal, the divine, the greater self, the source of unity and his attempt to arrive at some equation, some increasing approximation of the values of human life with the eternal and the divine values.

  “Spirituality is in its essence an awakening to the inner reality of our being, to a spirit, self, soul which is other than our mind, life and body, an inner aspiration to know to feel, to be that, to enter into contact with the greater Reality beyond and pervading the universe which inhabits also our own being, to be in communion with it, and a turning, a conversion, a transformation of our whole being as a result of the aspiration, the contact, the union, a growth or waking into a new becoming or new being, a new self, a  new nature. India recognized the authority of spiritual experience and knowledge, but she recognized still more the need of variety of spiritual experience and knowledge. The necessity of a firm spiritual order as well as an untrammeled spiritual freedom was always perceived, but it was provided for in various ways and not in anyone formal, external or artificial manner.” Sri Aurobindo says: “Politics, society, economy, are, in the first, form of human life simply an arrangement by which men collectively can live, produce, satisfy their desires, enjoy, progress in bodily, vital and mental efficiency; but the spiritual aim makes them much more than this, first, a framework of life within which man can seek and grow into his real self and divinity, secondly, an increasing embodiment of the divine law of being in life, thirdly, a collective advance towards the light, power, peace, unity, harmony, of the divine nature of humanity which the race is trying to evolve. This and nothing more, but nothing less, this in all its potentialities, is what we mean by a spiritual culture and the application of spirituality to life.”

  He says: “Spiritual aim in politics would regard the peoples as group-souls, the divinity concealed and to be self discovered in its human collectives, group-soul meant like the individual to grow according to their own nature and by that growth to help each other, to help the whole race in one common work of humanity. And that work would be to find the divine held in the individual and the collectivity and to realize spiritually, mentally, vitally, materially its greatest, largest, richest and deepest possibilities in the inner life of all and their outer action and nature.”

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